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Smart From the Start, Inc. (Smart)

 68 Annunciation Road
 Roxbury, MA 02120
[P] (857) 3083001
[F] (617) 6351187
Cherie Craft
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 45-4952663

LAST UPDATED: 09/02/2015
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes


Mission StatementMORE »

Smart from the Start (Smart) is a family support, community engagement and school readiness program that has as its mission to prevent the achievement gap among low-income young children, living in Boston's most underserved communities.
Smart empowers children, families and communities with the tools, resources and support they need to break cycles of chronic school underachievement and generational poverty. 

Mission Statement

Smart from the Start (Smart) is a family support, community engagement and school readiness program that has as its mission to prevent the achievement gap among low-income young children, living in Boston's most underserved communities.
Smart empowers children, families and communities with the tools, resources and support they need to break cycles of chronic school underachievement and generational poverty. 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2014 to June 30, 2015
Projected Income $1,600,000.00
Projected Expense $1,600,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Promoting School Readiness

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Smart from the Start (Smart) is a family support, community engagement and school readiness program that has as its mission to prevent the achievement gap among low-income young children, living in Boston's most underserved communities.
Smart empowers children, families and communities with the tools, resources and support they need to break cycles of chronic school underachievement and generational poverty. 

Background Statement

The same issues have plagued low-income neighborhoods for generations. If we continue to do what we have always done, we will continue to get what we have always gotten – the same communities, with the same problems and children robbed of an opportunity to reach their greatest potential. Smart from the Start was launched five years ago as a public/private partnership with the support of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, to address issues preventing children in vulnerable situations from achieving school readiness. Smart takes a different approach to school readiness – a grassroots, family and community driven, strengths-based empowerment approach that builds capacity in the neighborhoods and families and believes in their ability to promote change - empowering communities, families and children the tools, resources and support to break cycles, while restoring the village!Smart from the Start is a family support, community engagement and school readiness program, which enrolls the lowest income families with at least one child prenatal to five years. Our model is ecological and works on three levels simultaneously, with children, families and communities to make change. If a family is not thriving, the child will not thrive. Therefore, we provide programming and services to every member of the household, while helping caregivers step confidently into their role as their child's first teacher. Programs are located in and around low-income neighborhoods. We employ a unique grassroots outreach strategy to meet families where they are at by door knocking, visiting bodegas, laundromats, barbershops, tot lots, bus stops, train stations and other places families with young children frequent.

Impact Statement

Smart is a holistic, strengths-based, family and community driven program that takes pride in offering high quality early childhood programming and family support. One of the biggest accomplishments this year was maintaining our “no waitlist” policy for enrollment. Many of the young families we meet not only have young children in need of help preparing for kindergarten success, but also need crisis intervention and family stabilization services.

Based on the level of trauma and toxic stress that exists among the young children and families we serve, we have made a commitment to enhance the trauma informed care components of our program. Therefore we have hired a licensed mental health clinician as our Clinical Program Specialist, and as a result, have infused resiliency building, trauma informed activities and exercises to our program curricula for all Smart parenting education and parent-child programming.

We have also worked to build upon our Smart to School program, which helps to prepare caregivers and preschoolers for the transition into kindergarten. We work individually and with groups to provide the support, guidance and tools to ensure they are ready for sustained school success. Our growing partnerships with Boston Public Schools, METCO and charter schools have been instrumental in giving our low income families multiple strategies towards launching their child's school career.

New assessment tools have also been selected and adapted to strengthen our evidence base programming. With the help of evaluators from Harvard and Brandeis, we sought to find the most highly regarded and culturally sensitive evaluation tools to measure families and community progress and change.

In order to support our ongoing growth, we have made it a priority to diversify our funding streams to increase our revenue. With the guidance of our board, we hope to not only gain the support necessary to sustain but to grow our work in the most underserved communities.

Needs Statement

Currently, Smart from the Start is providing comprehensive services to young children and families in 22 sites with a budget of $1.5 million. Our greatest challenge has been keeping up with the tremendous demand for our programming and services. Our most pressing needs include the following:

1. Increased and diversified resources. Our goal for FY15 is to increase our revenue by a minimum of $200,000 to keep pace with our ever increasing number of children and families. We are looking to grow our individual donor base, corporate sponsorship and opportunities for federal funding.

2. We are seeking new layette items and baby clothes for our baby shower and Newborn Home Visiting programs;

3. We need volunteers to serve on our event planning committee to help prepare seasonal events like our annual Toy Drive, Party for a Purpose, Restoring the Village and Family Reunion Day.

4. We are seeking funding for new community playspace equipment for 10 new business playspaces at $500 each.

5. We need volunteers to provide homework help and mentoring for school-aged siblings, assistance with early childhood programming support, GED tutoring and Financial Literacy tutoring.

CEO Statement

Smart envisions a world where every young child feels safe, secure and loved; has their basic needs for healthy food, warm clothing, secure housing and safe neighborhoods met. We work toward a day where every child regardless of who their parents are or where they live, has access to high quality, fun, enriching education that honors and celebrates their diversity, and prepares them to fulfill their greatest potential and to realize their dreams. We will prevent the achievement gap by preparing the young children whose lives we touch for school success, empowering families and communities, and by working with traditional and non-traditional stakeholders and partners to embrace their role and do a better job of supporting young children and families by infusing neighborhoods with consistent messages and strengths-based services encouraging school readiness and self-sufficiency.

I grew up in a poor family, in an inner city Boston housing project. I, just like the children Smart serves, had all the odds stacked against me and was not expected to make it out. In fact, many of my friends, cousins and even siblings did not, and to no surprise, neither have their children. Inexplicably, I had the opportunity to participate in a voluntary school integration program, that bused me, from the tender age of five, to an affluent suburban school district. There I was put on a path to college that, in spite of my challenges at home, was absolute. Painfully, I struggled to "keep my eyes on the prize" as I watched helplessly as my siblings, cousins and friends fell victim to trouble in school, pregnancy, gang violence and drugs, promising one day to make a difference. Smart provides me with the unique opportunity to combine my commitment to and passion for this community and work with my professional background in social work and counseling. The majority of the staff of Smart also have the unique perspective of having shared many of the struggles of the children and families we serve. We know that, 1. In order to effectively engage vulnerable communities and families you must first build relationships that reflect genuine honor, trust and respect. 2. Programs must be ecological, as you cannot serve a young child in isolation from their family and community if change is going to be sustained 3. Programs must be family/community driven, and holistic, addressing basic needs, providing caregivers with advocacy and opportunities to improve their self-sufficiency, while preparing children for school success.  

Board Chair Statement

I have worked in pediatrics at Boston Medical Center for over 25 years, providing child development services, family support and infant mental health for underserved families in Boston, many of whom struggle with multigenerational poverty, untreated mental illness, exposure to community and domestic violence, and substance abuse. I believe that the community needs to heal itself from the inside out rather than just assuming that large institutions will be able to sufficiently empower families to do “what they need to do”. Smart from the Start is truly such an organization, engaging families in services one family at a time. Smart is not a “research project” that will experiment with ways to support families and leave those families after a few years to scale up the lessons learned from the community; Smart is here to stay in the community.

The strategies used by Smart are based on creating positive, primary relationships between families and staff. For many families the experience of being in a supportive relationship with a Family Leader is life altering; it is a new experience to be cared for, respected, trusted. These relationships develop slowly over time as trust is built by small daily interactions that provide relief and hope for families. For example, children enrolled in Smart receive new backpacks stocked with school supplies at the beginning of the school year - they go to school equipped to learn and feeling confident as they walk through the door. Of course that backpack alone does not ensure success; rather it is a symbol of what Smart provides: support for learning one day at a time starting with a gift of shiny new markers, followed by homework support, enhanced by staff who help parents understand their child’s homework and encourage them to complete their own educational goals.

Trust and belief in self is build every day at Smart from the Start when a child runs into Smart yelling proudly and confidently Miss Cherie, Miss Carol, look at what I did at school today. Trust and hope are created when a Family Leader repeatedly knocks on the door of an apartment and encourages the parent to bring their toddler to a playgroup at the Smart office in their housing project, waits for the parent to get ready and walks with the family to the program office for the first time. And finally that trust allows families to begin to confront the problems of depression or substance abuse which hold them in poverty.

The challenges faced by Smart are both internal - how does a non-profit agency provide support to diverse families with respect for culture and race, and external - while also needing to devote inordinate amount of staff time and energy to constant fund raising.

I have worked with Cherie Craft, the Executive Director of Smart for over 18 years, first at Boston Medical Center and then as a collaborator as she began Smart from the Start. When the program decided to become a non-profit corporation I was asked to serve as the first Board Chair. I have served in the position for the past 3 years and I have watched Smart grow from a small neighborhood program into a Boston wide community agency. It has been my pleasure and honor to work with Cherie and the staff. I look forward to many more years of successful collaboration.

Geographic Area Served

Smart from the Start exclusively serves children and families living in the most under-served neighborhoods in Boston. We intentionally place programming within close proximity to public housing or low-income housing developments to provide easy access to families in need. We have a total of 22 sites where Smart from the Start programs are facilitated in the seven urban communities across the City of Boston - Charlestown, Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and the South End.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Preschools
  2. Human Services - Family Services
  3. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Alliances & Advocacy

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Promoting School Readiness

Smart from the Start has developed an ecological approach to promoting school readiness. We realize that children cannot be served in isolation from their families & families can not be served in isolation from their communities. Therefore we are working to promote change simultaneously on all 3 levels. Our early education programs have a specially designed curriculum that includes activities, learning tools, literacy materials & experiences that honor & speak directly to the urban, culturally diverse population of the little ones we serve. All families receive resources & referrals to appropriate services & have access to crisis intervention & family stabilization services. Family programming also includes access to workshops & trainings to build on skills as advocates, trainers & leaders. Our Community Unity Initiative take an innovative approach to mobilizing community businesses, stakeholders & families around Boston to promote the importance of early childhood education.
Budget  1.4 million
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Families
Program Short-Term Success 
  • 200 additional children enrolled in Smart from the Start
  • 100 caregivers graduate from our Breakthrough Parenting Curriculum
  • 75-80% of Smart from the Start children are equip with the social emotional skills necessary to be school ready on the ASQ-SE
  • 85% of caregivers report improvement in their self sufficiency
  • Increase MathPOWER program that is infused in our toddle and preschool curriculum with beginning  mathematics, including basic algebraic and geometric skill building
  • All 7 neighborhoods have access to "Address the Stress" to help children and families cope with and build resiliencies to everyday stress and to address challenges with post-traumatic and toxic stress.
  • Provide 100 Community Playspaces that allow community businesses to be early learning hubs for young children in their neighborhoods.
Program Long-Term Success 
We work toward a day where every child regardless of who their parents are or where they live, has access to high quality, fun, enriching education that honors & celebrates their diversity, & prepares them to fulfill their greatest potential & to realize their dreams. To bring our vision into fruition we would need to achieve the following outcomes:
  • 90-100% of children are determined to be school ready on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ )
  • 90% of children are equip with the social emotional skills necessary to be school ready on the ASQ-SE
  • 85% of caregivers are achieving goals for education, employment & self sufficiency
  • 100% of caregivers report improvement in knowledge of child development & child rearing skills
  • Smart has 15 new partners & 15 nontraditional partners for our Community Unity Partner Initiative
Program Success Monitored By 
Smart from the Start has consistently invested in high quality, independent evaluation of our programs & their impact on the children, families & communities we serve. The studies included quantitative and qualitative assessments focused on Smart's impact on children's development, as well as our impact on parenting & on family & caregiver functioning. On the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) school readiness assessment our 5 year olds scored: 100% in Communication, 100% on Problem Solving, 100% on Personal and Social Skills, 94% on Gross Motor and 74% on Fine Motor.
We also collected data on the level of stress & trauma our families have experienced, all in an effort to gauge our efficacy as well as to inform programming & planning. The caregivers who participated in the independent evaluation credit Smart from the Start with helping them address their past issues, & with giving them support & encouragement they need to do better by their young children & hope for their futures.
Examples of Program Success  Malika was homeless with her 3 children when she first enrolled in Smart from the Start. She had been abandoned by her mother & raised by her grandmother. When she got pregnant at 14, she was thrown out on the street. Now at 25, she had been incarcerated, abused & had no formal education or job skills. Malika had given up on herself and life. Smart staff wrapped Malika in love, support & understanding. Earning her trust, she began counseling & support groups at Smart, parenting classes & enrolled in adult education programs. The Family Support Specialist assisted her in being granted her very first apartment, where she was able to provide stability & create a more comfortable & loving environment for her children. Her 3 year old participated in a variety of preschool play to learn programs & both her school aged children in tutoring. Today Malika is a leader & working while her children are excelling in school. She is just one example of how Smart inspires change, one family at a time.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Cherie A. Craft M.Ed
CEO Term Start Oct 2007
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Having grown up in the inner city of Boston, Cherie Craft possesses a passionate commitment to working tirelessly, from a strength-based approach, to better the lives of children and families at-risk, with special emphasis on working with families of various ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. Having studied Sociology as an undergrad, and now holding a Master’s of Education Degree in Counseling Psychology, Ms. Craft gained much of her early professional experience working in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, formerly Boston City Hospital. Ms. Craft was initially recruited as a Family Advocate/Case Worker, was soon after promoted to Community Projects Coordinator, and eventually to Director of the Department’s Family Support Program. Currently employed as the Executive Director of Smart from the Start, a community engagement and family support program that promotes school-readiness, Ms. Craft, for a period of 12 years, provided social and organizational services consultation in the form of training and targeted technical assistance to numerous public and privately funded non-profit organizations across the country. Specializing in child development, social service and organizational support, Ms. Craft was dedicated to partnering with agencies working specifically within diverse and under-served communities. Ms. Craft has addresses audiences such as the US Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures, and worked on an 800 page curriculum on partnering with parents to prevent child abuse for Zero to Three. Ms. Craft serves as senior faculty with the National Institute for Family Centered Care and has also served two terms as a member of the National Expert Panel on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare.              

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Kat Chapman Manager of Special Projects and Strategic Relationships --
Ms. Sophia Girault Office Manager --


Award Awarding Organization Year
presented “Muchas Lenguajes, Una Voz - Many Languages; One Voice... Smart from the Start” 9th Annual International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse Neglect, Latin American International Conference in Toluca, Mexico 2015
Presentation at Annual Conference in Detroit The National Center for Black Child Development 2014
Program Presentaion Conference in Nagoya, Japan International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse Neglect 2014
Point of Proof: Being Black is not a Risk Factor Publication The National Center for Black Child Development 2013
Poster Presentation at National Training Institute of Zero to Three in San Antonio, TX Zero to Three 2013
Program Presentaion at European Regional Conference in Dublin, Ireland International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse Neglect 2013
Social Innovator of the Year Root Cause SocialInnovation Forum 2011


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

We also needed to enhance our internal continuous quality improvement system to better meet the needs of a larger, more comprehensive Smart from the Start and thus we have re-evaluated and revised all of our parent/caregiver satisfaction surveys, employee evaluation and assessments and internal program observation and assessment protocols. This work will give us a more in-depth picture of how we are doing, what is working well and where we need to grow. We will, as always, use the finding to strengthen and further improve the work we do with children, families and partners.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 19
Number of Part Time Staff 8
Number of Volunteers 30
Number of Contract Staff 4
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 15
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 5
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 4
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 19
Male: 2
Not Specified 6

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Quarterly


Board Chair Dr. Margot Kaplan-Sanoff
Board Chair Company Affiliation Boston University Medical Center, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics
Board Chair Term July 2012 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ken Abrams Wellington Intl Management, Inc Voting
Betty Bardige Early Childhood Author and Consultant Voting
Michael Carmen Wellington Intl Management, Inc Voting
Maureen Connor Claremont Consulting Partners Voting
Dr. Karen Craddock Harvard University Graduate School of Education Voting
Cherie Craft M.Ed Smart from the Start Executive Director NonVoting
Dale Eck Retired Chief Financial Officer for The Entwistle Company Voting
Kelly Gaule Promus+ Consulting Voting
Dr. Margot Kaplan-Sanoff Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine Voting
Simone Lopez Greater Boston Elder Services and Smart Parent Voting
Courtney New Nixon-Peabody, LLP Voting
Ben Siegel MD Pediatrician Boston Medical Center Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 8
Male: 4
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


The Strategic Planning Committee, whose members included four Board members and management staff developed this strategic plan with the purpose of providing a three year roadmap for supports, services and organizational development.. At the initial meeting, held on December 19, 2013 and facilitated by Karen Welford, Resource and Development Consultant, the committee reflected on the mission, vision and current reality of the organization. The look at the current reality included the committee’s perceptions of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses and the external opportunities and threats. By placing the vision into the context of current reality, a commitment to the future of Smart was created. In order to fulfill this commitment, eight strategic directions were defined. These strategic directions will provide the framework for goals, objectives and action plans. The draft of the Strategic Plan was reviewed and revised at the Board of Director’s retreat on January 8, 2014. The revised draft was presented to the Family Leadership Council* and the Smart Staff meeting on March 3, 2014 for comments. On March 11, 2014, the final draft was presented to the Smart from the Start Board of Directors for approval.

*Smart from the Start’s Family Leadership Council, a source of great pride for Smart, is a cohort of parents and caregivers with amazing strengths and resiliencies who have demonstrated outstanding personal achievement, participation in the program, and leadership in their communities, despite personal struggles and challenges. Leaders attend workshops and trainings on a variety of topics to learn more about issues families and children in their community face, and to build on their skills as advocates, trainers and leaders. They have traveled to places like New Orleans, Washington, DC, and New Hampshire to participate in and lead discussions, conferences and trainings to advance the causes that concern them and the families they proudly represent.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2014 to June 30, 2015
Projected Income $1,600,000.00
Projected Expense $1,600,000.00
Form 990s

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990 - Smart - covering 3 months (March 29, 2012 - June 30, 2012)

Audit Documents

2014 Audited Financials

2013 Audited Financials

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Revenue $3,239,129 $2,118,307 $722,505
Total Expenses $1,973,741 $1,827,708 $1,017,952

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$1,241,750 $595,251 $722,505
Government Contributions $225,000 $202,500 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local $225,000 $202,500 --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $1,230,002 $457,261 --
Indirect Public Support $27,324 $13,333 --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $684 $955 --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $26,552 $23,317 --
Revenue In-Kind $487,817 $525,690 --
Other -- $300,000 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Program Expense $1,677,277 $1,469,266 $1,017,952
Administration Expense $183,667 $183,279 --
Fundraising Expense $112,797 $175,163 --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.64 1.16 0.71
Program Expense/Total Expenses 85% 80% 100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 4% 14% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Assets $1,704,720 $524,516 $308,789
Current Assets $462,249 $201,918 $308,789
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $109,251 $194,435 $0
Total Net Assets $1,595,469 $330,081 $308,789

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 4.23 1.04 inf

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above for fiscal year 2013 is per the organization's audited financials. Financial summary data for fiscal years 2012 and 2011 reflects the financials of Smart from the Start (Smart), provided by both Smart and the organization's previous fiscal sponsor, the Family Nurturing Center of Massachusetts (FNC). In the Spring of 2012 Smart was incorporated as a separate entity and received its own tax-exempt status from the IRS, reflected in the IRS Letter of Determination posted above.
Effective July 1, 2012 the fiscal sponsorship with FNC ended and the transition plan was implemented, as such, all of Smart's fiscal and management responsibilities were transferred to the Smart entity. 
A 3-month Form 990 for Smart (covering March 29, 2012 - June 30, 2012) is posted above, but not included in the charts and graphs.
Please note, the amount in the Other revenue category for fiscal year 2013 reflects a transfer of multi-year grant commitments from the previous fiscal sponsor.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

The Board of Directors, staff and families of Smart from the Start (Smart) developed a strategic plan with the purpose of providing a three year roadmap for supports, services and organizational development. The Board of Directors will review progress quarterly and will review and update the plan annually as needed.

We work to prevent the achievement gap by preparing the young children whose lives we touch for school success, empowering families and communities to provide the stable and supportive living conditions necessary to nurture strong, confident and well-balanced children. The final piece of the puzzle is to partner closely with school communities to smooth transitions and build better family/school relationships, and to work with traditional and non-traditional stakeholders and partners to embrace their role and do a better job of supporting young children and families by infusing neighborhoods with consistent messages and strengths-based services encouraging school readiness and self-sufficiency.

Smart’s families often struggle with a host of social challenges, many of whom schools and traditional social services have had difficulty engaging. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty research brief, Helping the Most Vulnerable Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families, “Even in the most high-risk families, unless a child’s safety is at stake, the best way to promote healthy development and reduce risks is to help the baby’s parents and other caregivers. In general, research supports an integrated four-pronged approach as an effective theory of change:

1. Promote healthy, effective parenting responsive to complex parental risks;

2. Provide interventions that explicitly address parental risk factors;

3. Connect babies and toddlers with necessary health and related services; and

4. Address the concrete needs of the family.”

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

In response to its understanding of the needs of families and communities, its theory of change, and the current opportunities and challenges, Smart from the Start will:

ü Diversify funding and explore opportunities for strategic partnerships that lead to funding and public awareness

ü Increase visibility among important stakeholders and target groups

ü Strengthen organizational structure

ü Promote Board of Director development

ü Increase capacity to serve 3000 children in our 7 neighborhoods

ü Maintain fiscal stability

ü Secure additional space

ü Build on the principle of strengthening adult capacities to impact child outcomes

ü Strengthen the trauma-informed mental health component of the program

ü Continue to build upon evidence base

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

To address the commitment of the organization in the next three years, Smart will assess and deepen its approach to its work. With a fresh perspective on its mission, its strengths and the current environment, Smart will pursue the following strategic directions:

Ø Program/Service Delivery

o Strengthen Trauma-informed Mental Health Component

o Continue to strengthen primary caregivers’ abilities to support and advocate for children after they enter the school system

o Strengthen our evidence base by continuing to invest in independent program evaluation

Ø Revenue

o Diversify funding sources, including earned income, professional sports teams, individuals, state contracts, foundations, corporate sponsorships, federal grants

Ø Markets

o Expand relationships with health centers

o Expand market through strategic partnerships, i.e. medical homes, community agencies and formalized MOUs

o Reach other specialized populations through formal partnerships with partners such as Early Intervention.

Ø Personnel

o Strengthen organizational structure through additional staffing, specifically in leadership positions

o Assure adequate staffing for quality programming, including trauma-informed mental health and fatherhood

o Explore internships, i.e. Business Schools, journalism, PR/communication majors

Ø Communications

o Expand visibility among key stakeholders and target groups

Ø Leadership

o Adjust makeup of Board of Directors regarding skill set, expertise and knowledge

o Strengthen governance structure

Ø Technology

o Expand communications, i.e. quarterly newsletters, e-blasts, e-mail lists

o Explore internships to assist with technology/communication

Ø Facilities

o Locate rent-free administrative space

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?